Recent Stuff 21
November 21, 2016

The sections were actually written in the reverse order you see it here, too. I finally tried finishing and cleaning it up as I made final touches to my recent review. I dunno why it takes me so long to push these out when I actually have stuff to talk about.

-GAMES-

I played and reviewed a bit of games since my last blog entry, so I really only want to comment on a few.

REDCON: A turned-based fortress-type game (QTB-style) I was interested in it for a couple months, due to its visual style. It's not a hard game to get into once you understand how everything works past the opening stages; pretty much concentrate your turrets and bombardment on the strong enemy weaponry, then just bounce back and forth between ones being repaired and others, and so on. Just common sense stuff. It helps that the game allows you to make commands while pausing the action. I started playing this towards the end of October, thinking I would have a review written and up in early November. Problem is, the game just starts getting very repetitive and samey, despite constantly introducing new weapons every two or three missions. I managed to get through 24 stages before dropping it, which leads me to the game's other problem: length. The game has 100 stages. It took me one week to do those 24 stages. With that in mind, it would have taken me approximately three weeks to beat the game. I can easily play and review a bad game that's only a few hours in length, but I'm not dedicating three weeks to a game that's super average and extremely repetitive.

Please, Don't Touch Anything: With REDCON dropped, I moved on to this, which was what I was planning to play next anyway. After my first 30 minutes of playing, I came to the terrible realization that reviewing this was going to be a challenge. As I explained in the review, the experience of playing PDTA hinges on not knowing what to do next, and it's extremely easy to spoil something, even if it's a vague hint or a single screenshot. I actually thought about dropping this to (as a review), but I ultimately decided to stick with it, because I figured this would be an interesting challenge and learning experience. Glad I did.

-MOVIES-

Across 110th Street: I found out about this movie simply because I watched Jackie Brown for the first time a few months back; yup, it was because of the song. I didn't want to go in knowing much, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The film delivered in a lot of spots, and despite focusing on multiple characters, everyone that needed appropriate screen time got it. Also, it's been awhile since I've watched a movie that suddenly escalated from 0 to 1000, and Across 110th Street has it with one particular sequence. I recommend it if you're looking for a crime drama to watch.

Nighthawks: I've been meaning to watch this one for some time, but I always held back for the oddest reason... the DVD release had a different soundtrack than that of its theatrical release. So when I heard it was coming to Blu-ray back in April 2016, I decided to just pick that up instead. Then it got delayed to June/July. Then it got delayed to September... Then October. By the time it FINALLY got released, funnily enough, I didn't feel like viewing it. But I quickly changed my mind in fear that I would regret it later, in case it would somehow be out of stock and its price gouged.

So I watched it.... and man, I dunno. That movie felt like it was bouncing all over the place. Not surprising considering, according to the people interviewed on the special features, the movie kept changing directors and crew, not to mention Stallone wanted the movie to be done his way. If that's really the case, it shows in the finished product; the movie just feels like a clutter of ideas meshed into a 100-some minute film. The story starts off introducing both the protagonists and the antagonist, switching back and forth, and this is really the only time the movie feels like it has a coherent flow. After that, we see Stallone and his partner, Billy Dee Williams, stuck in a dark room being schooled about terrorism for a surprisingly hefty chunk of the film. Seriously? Afterwards, we get some very clunky transitions into some action/suspense scenes that just don't gel together.

The one scene that annoyed me the most was when the antagonist, played by Rutger Hauer, had a bunch of people held hostage on a tram car. He said no police interference... and Stallone, for some reason, gets on a helicopter and has it fly disturbingly close to the tram car. So, Rutger kills a woman, and Stallone acts shocked... for some reason???

Oh, and watching the interviews in the special features was HILARIOUS, because it was very obvious they couldn't get anyone big, like Stallone, Billy Dee, Rutger, or the director, to comment on the film. So, they get Stallone's on-screen love interest, a guy who was fired during production, and the young woman clerk at the start of the film that BARELY has any screen presence. I swear, this better not be the reason the Blu-ray release was delayed so many times.

Dirty Harry/Magnum Force/The Enforcer/Sudden Impact: I was so irritated by Nighthawks, that I wanted to watch something like Death Wish III or a Dirty Harry movie to wash out the bad taste. I decided on the Dirty Harry Blu-ray 4-pack, which excludes The Dead Pool. The only way to get a Blu-ray version of that film is to purchase the more expensive Dirty Harry collection. I'll be damned if I'm going to spend an extra 30 or so dollars for one extra movie; I'll just pick up the DVD version instead.

Funny thing about my experience with the franchise: I know most of its memorable scenes, but I never sat down and watched any of the Dirty Harry movies from beginning to end, so this was a first. After watching the first four, I'd say I think Magnum Force is my fav, with Dirty Harry close behind, followed by The Enforcer, with Sudden Impact a distant fourth. I previously never thought much of Magnum Force, and I think that's mainly because I kept catching the movie towards its final moments, so nothing really sparked with me. And on TV. I never realized Magnum Force was such a violent movie; the execution at the start of the film really threw me off. I also think, despite being the longest of the Dirty Harry films, it has some of the best pacing of all the movies. Nothing really meanders, stuff flows from one to another like it's nothing, and it just feels like the most fully-realized of the bunch.

The Enforcer, on the other hand, while not terrible, has an uneven feeling. The main antagonist is barely in the film after the opening moments, and you spend more time watching Harry interacting with his new partner and feuding with his superiors. That's not to say those parts were bad, but there has to be a balancing act. Then there's this on-foot chase sequence that goes on waaaayyy longer than it should. By the time the movie was near its climax, it suddenly remembered it had a plot. The movie certainly has its moments, but the bizarre pacing just didn't do it for me.

As for Sudden Impact, well, I'm sorry, but this just doesn't feel like a Dirty Harry movie. After the first few minutes, you can easily mistake this for a film unrelated to the Dirty Harry franchise; Harry is out of uniform and kind of wanders around for a good chunk of the movie in some completely different location, trying to stay out of trouble until its climax. A dog farts into the camera at one point, too. Since this was originally written as a movie with Sondra Locke in the starring role, that's not all too surprising... and she's in HUGE portions of the movie. Errrgggh. If you're thinking about watching this one, just look up its memorable "Make my day" cafe robbery scene on YouTube.

Other Movies: True Grit (1969) - Monster Squad - Friday the 13th Part 3 through 9. The latter movies I watched with my nephew, since he had a fascination with Jason Voorhees and wanted to watch the films for the first time. Funny, considering he's scared of horror movies in general; he gets uncomfortable if you even mention Freddy, Puppet Master, Chucky, or Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

-TV SHOW-

V Gundam: Finally got the second Blu-ray collection in the middle of October. Blazed through the whole thing within days. Again, I wrote all these sections as I was watching them, and again, even though I halfheartedly try avoiding any huge spoilers, I still mention big moments. If you want my overall impression of the show, skip to the last huge paragraph of this section.

(episodes 27 - 29): The one thing I've always been impressed with in Tomino's Gundam shows is how he's able to crunch so much into a single episode without actually making everything feel cramped. Episode 27 does this particularly well. Leaving off from 26's cliffhanger of Katejina confronting Uso, it resumes with her spewing some of the biggest nonsense this side of Zeta. Uso literally yells out, "You're not making any sense!!" while crying. I actually rewinded that part because it was both so true and hilarious. Then she accidentally destroys the colony's citizens while trying to shoot the Gundam, and with zero regret afterwards, much to Uso's horror. Katejina's rational for her entire rampage equates to a "No, you!" argument. She's nuts. The remainder of the episode goes into this entirely different plot point about a giant nut sack death laser, handgun fights in space, and a surprising death of someone I thought would at least make it to the later episodes of the show. Person bites it super hard.

Then episode 29 happened, and I was like, "Oh... this episode." It was much weirder than I remembered it being, but maybe that's because I knew what everyone's saying now.

(episodes 30 - 33): Just when I thought the tire mobile suits were as ridiculous as the show was going to get... Japanese dragon mobile suits are introduced. They even went the distance of having the dragon's decoys shaped in the form of clouds. A heavy set of episodes where the protagonists chase a battleship making its journey from the moon to the Earth and, you guessed it, a segment is dedicated to an atmospheric entry battle. I'd be lying if I said this felt different than the ones showcased in previous shows, but it was still entertaining, mainly because Katejina was boiling with hatred towards Uso at this point. Commandant Chronicle seems shockingly unfazed by all the fighting that's been happening around his battleship, to the point where everything the protagonists have been doing to stop him come off as a nuisance than a legitimate threat.

Shahkti continues to annoy me with her contrived presence in the story. After all that's been going on, after everything the other characters had to suffer through fighting, after everything everyone else has learned over the course of the show up to this point, it seriously feels like Shahkti doesn't get it. She still tries to wander off on her own, thinking no trouble will come from it... Like, people in the show either legitimately get hurt or just flatout DIE when she goes off on her own. You know the freakiest part I've noticed during these particular batch of episodes? Shahkti doesn't seem remorseful about it. There wasn't a moment where she regretted her choices or even cried, all while everyone else was having a sob party. The next time we see her, she was being her usual jolly, dense self; wandering off and getting kidnapped for the millionth time.

(episodes 34 - 37): I feel like I'm having deja vu; the last time I questioned Shahkti's presence in the last blog entry, the show immediately tried to rectify it in the proceeding episodes. Too bad it took another death for her to finally break down and take some form of responsibility. Oof, it was a rough death, too. Though, this would all seem moot if she wanders off again... Hilariously, Katejina's been growing on me over the last couple episodes. Her nonsensical rants and hypocrisy have been entertaining to a degree ever since she started piloting a mobile suit. Instead of just standing in a corner moaning, she's actually putting her ignorance to some use. It's like watching the longest train wreck in progress. Like, she was appalled that someone was holding a human in their mobile suit's hand and using them as a shield, but a few episodes prior she had absolutely no regrets about literally running over an entire town full of innocent people.

(episodes 38 - 41): Don't have a whole lot to comment here other than it was a "nice" little arc before heading into the final stretch of episodes. Though, like I mentioned in the last blog entry, it's always very telling when a character on the show who pretty much had zero characterization, suddenly has character development out the ass, that you can predict said character is going to die super hard within the same episode. Also... I can't believe it took me nearly 20-some episodes to realize the White Ark is basically a miniature version of the White Base; it has all the same colors and is called the White Ark. I feel stupid.

(episodes 42 - 46): So, I've reached the final stretch of a Tomino Gundam show, and right on cue, everything and everyone gets screwed. Special "You Tried" Award goes out to Pippiniden, or how ever his name is spelled, for what happened in episode 42. That was unintentionally the funniest thing I've seen in the show. Shahkti tries wandering off again and, surprise, her actions get two more people killed. I swear, her kill count is bigger than Uso's at this point. I should have been annoyed when this happened, but what made this particular moment work was how everyone else on the White Ark also became genuinely upset with her this time. Odelo literally said she was acting sick again, and Uso basically said what's on every viewer's mind at this part in the show: simply talking to the enemy at this point is not as easy as it sounds.

Maria FINALLY starts having an actual presence again, after being a no-show for the past 20-some episodes. And when she does show up... weird things happen with her. I can't tell if she's morally bankrupt or if she's just as dense as Shahkti, but I'm leaning more towards the latter. I mean, you seriously believed that using thousands of kidnapped, brainwashed people for your mind control device wouldn't have a lasting impact? Really? I guess ignorance runs in the family...

(extra spoiler warning)

(episodes 47 - 51): I think watching the final five episodes in a row wasn't a good move. That was draining. Chronicle... man. I think you might just have the most visually painful death I've seen in the entire show. Your mobile suit gets destroyed, tumbles down a structure, you get flung out of the mobile suit, and just as you're seeing an image of your sister, *PLUNK*, your head slams super hard into the structure. Cue sudden commercial break. I FELT that one so much, I did a rewind of the scene. Dumbest Death Award goes to Francesca of the Shrike Team for ignorantly flying towards Katejina's mobile suit, AN ENEMY, thinking she switched sides in the middle of battle. And as for the bikini suit "battle": I've actually seen that moment on YouTube, out of context, and now that I've seen it within context of the plot... it kinda sorta makes sense, now that I know Katejina was behind the idiotic decision. I'm also confused as to what Uso's dad did during his final minutes alive. Did he run away like a coward, then come back to crash the ship???

Aside from the deus ex magical princess Shahkti orb rescue pod save and the whole silly psycommu plot device, it still managed to have a fitting, bittersweet ending; the war is over, but an untold number of people died unnecessarily, both civilians and soldiers, because of absurd ideologies from a few nut job leaders, and the only thing to do now is try rebuilding. It's very brief in its display, but I like it more than the previous Gundam endings where they literally end right after the final big bad has been defeated. War sucks. Kids, don't start wars.

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I quite enjoyed V Gundam, from beginning to end, even with the bizarre episode flow at the start. I thought it was consistently good throughout, which was the opposite of both Zeta Gundam and Gundam ZZ. Zeta having a strong start that devolved into nonsensical plot and character development during the second half, and Gundam ZZ for having a particularly messy first half that was saved for having a surprisingly strong second half. I think the one important aspect that helped was the fact that the characters in V Gundam came off being very natural human beings; regardless of how stupid someone was in their ideals, I still understood where they were coming from. I actually got bummed out when certain characters died, unlike in previous shows where I was nonchalant and sometimes glad when annoying characters died off. The only person that genuinely irritated me was Shahkti, as she constantly did idiotic stuff that legit got people killed and never seemed to learn her lesson. She remained the most gullible person in the entire show to the very end, and I'm pretty sure every one just gave her a free pass because she helped save the day in the end.

In conclusion: I enjoyed V Gundam, it's too bad Tomino hates it, Shahkti sucks, and Karl is the cutest thing ever. Whoever did that baby's voice should get an award.

Haven't started Reconguista in G yet as of this writing; I wanted a break between Gundam shows, so I spent time watching movies (above), instead. Next blog entry is likely going to be mid to late December. Later.

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joseph_valencia joseph_valencia - November 23, 2016 (08:51 PM)
I love the Dirty Harry movies. Sudden Impact is actually one of my favorites. Something about that movie is haunting. The Dead Pool is kind of weird but also very good. It's got an early bit role for Jim Carrey and a shot-for-shot remake of the famous Bullitt car chase... with a deadly remote control toy car!
pickhut pickhut - November 24, 2016 (05:28 AM)
I don't even think Sudden Impact's plot is that terrible, just the way it was presented. If Harry's parts were completely taken out, or minimized and changed to a completely different character, and fleshed out Sondra Locke's parts in the movie, I actually think it would have turned out better. Ah well.

I'll eventually check out The Dead Pool, but probably after I go through Reconguista first. That rc car sequence always sounded interesting.

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